Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ofcom: Further progress in accelerating the roll-out of 4G

Ofcom have today announced further progress in the speed-up of delivering 4G to consumers: EE, Telefónica O2, Three and Vodafone have formally created one of the key institutions required to ensure the rapid roll-out of 4G services next year. From Ofcom's press release:
"The four operators have formed a jointly controlled company called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited, originally called MitCo, and appointed Andrew Pinder as interim chairman. It will be responsible for ensuring that consumers continue to receive clear Freeview TV signals following the roll out of 4G mobile services in the 800 MHz spectrum band from the Spring of next year. Deployment of 4G services in other frequency bands does not require similar measures to be put in place. Creating the company now will further accelerate the rollout of competitive 4G services next year. It will be funded by the successful bidders for 800MHz spectrum in the forthcoming auction and provisions exist to make sure that if any other party acquires some of this spectrum in the auction they can immediately become a shareholder in the company"
More on 4G interference issues in this previous post. Ofcom have published a letter sent by Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards to Culture Secretary Maria Miller, which identifies progress in other areas too:
"I understand from officials in your department that the Mobile Operators Association (MOA) has had productive discussions, led by DCMS, with DCLG and DEFRA, on measures to streamline planning processes for 4G deployment (and more generally), working towards a package of measures to be consulted on as soon as it has received Ministerial clearance. I understand that this is a high priority for the Government on which further progress is expected in the coming weeks and months. From our perspective I would welcome your continued support in this area."
The letter also confirms that no further legal challenges will be forthcoming:
"I have been in contact with the CEO of each of the MNOs this week and they have all confirmed to me that they do not intend to bring a legal challenge to either our Auction decision or our 1800 MHz liberalisation decision."
Bidding in the 4G auction process for 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum will now commence in January 2013. Coverage from ISP Review here.

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